House Speaker Paul D. Ryan said Friday that he was “sickened” by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s disparaging remarks about women captured on video, which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell also described as “repugnant.”
Trump bragged about his exploits with women and used graphic language to describe his sexual advances in a video from 2005 obtained by The Washington Post. The conversation occurred on an “Access Hollywood” bus when Trump was making an appearance on the soap opera “Days of Our Lives,” according to the Post.“I am sickened by what I heard today. Women are to be championed and revered, not objectified,” Ryan said in a statement. “I hope Mr. Trump treats this situation with the seriousness it deserves and works to demonstrate to the country that he has greater respect for women than this clip suggests.”
McConnell didn't hold back either.
“These comments are repugnant, and unacceptable in any circumstance,” he said in a statement. “As the father of three daughters, I strongly believe that Trump needs to apologize directly to women and girls everywhere, and take full responsibility for the utter lack of respect for women shown in his comments on that tape.”
Trump released a video shortly after midnight issuing an apology for the comments.
“I’ve said and done things I regret, and the words released today on this more than a decade-old video are one of them, Trump said. “Anyone who knows me, know these words don’t reflect who I am. I said it. I was wrong. And I apologize.”
He also described the controversy over his remarks as “nothing more than a distraction from the important issues facing us today.” And he then pivoted to criticizing his opponent, Hillary Clinton, and her husband.
“Bill Clinton has actually abused women and Hillary has bullied, attacked, shamed and intimidated his victims,” Trump said. “We will discuss this more in the coming days. See you at the debate on Sunday.”
The GOP nominee was slated to appear at a Saturday event with Ryan and Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, a vulnerable incumbent, in Elkhorn, located in Ryan's congressional district. But the speaker announced in a statement late Friday that Trump would not be attending.
Ryan asked Trump not to come to Wisconsin, according to a source familiar with the speaker's decision.
Trump said that his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, would take his place at the event. Trump would be preparing for Sunday’s presidential debate.
The remarks also drew condemnation from GOP lawmakers, namely those running for re-election.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, retracted his endorsement of Trump in a live interview on a Fox affiliate Friday night. Chaffetz chairs the powerful Oversight and Government Reform Committee and has pursued investigations into Trump's opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Chaffetz reportedly said he would not be able to look his teenage daughter in the eye and tell her about Trump's comments.
“I’m out,” Chaffetz said. “I can no longer in good conscience endorse this person for president. It is some of the most abhorrent and offensive comments that you can possibly imagine.”
Illinois Sen. Mark S. Kirk called on Trump to drop out of the race Friday night.
Kirk is one of the most vulnerable Republican incumbents of the cycle in his re-election bid against Democratic Rep. Tammy Duckworth. The Rothenberg & Gonzalez Political Report/Roll Call rates the race as Leans Democratic.
Arizona Sen. John McCain said there were “no excuses” for Trump’s remarks but said that Trump “alone should suffer the consequences.”
New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte also called the comments “totally inappropriate and offensive.”
Lindsey McPherson and Eric Garcia contributed to this report.
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